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Geoffrey Chaucers The Canterbury Tales demonstrates a plethora of attitudes toward and perceptions of marriage with some of these ideas being extremely conservative while others are wildly liberal all concluding that the conflict between men and women is of divergent wills and natures While several of these tales are rather comical they do indeed give us a representation of the attitudes toward marriage at that time in history The Nuns Priests Wife of Baths and The Franklins Tales all have different aspects on the subject of marriage but when addressing the question of who has correctly identified the proper roles in marriage it is undoubtedly The Wife of Bath a tale that satirically and derisively demonstrates the wifes overall vie for mastery within the marriage by her manipulation of the husbands weaknesses of both the flesh and the mind It is these peculiarities of the Wife of Baths tale that uniquely answer the question of who deserves the mastery in marriage The Wife of Baths prologue introduces the pilgrim who narrates this tale Alison a gap toothed partially deaf seamstress and widower of five husbands claiming to have great experience in the ways of the heart by remedying whatever might ail it Alison unlike the other tales in comparison describes marriage as a misery and a woe p258 The Wife of Baths tale sets itself apart by presenting a woman who although rather typical in this day and age is unconventional and uncharacteristic of the women of Chaucers time Chaucer develops this especially in the language used by Alison blending language that often contains sexual connotations perhaps even saying it in a lady-like manner feeding into her views that women however vicious we may be within we like to be thought wise and void of sin p 283 The Wife of Baths prologue also begins to depict how the wife masters the husband by the manipulation of his fleshly weaknesses even going so far
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